Summer Events: Plan Accordingly

Summertime is here, and with it comes outdoor fairs and festivals. Attending is fun for people of all ages; I love their inter-generational appeal. Recently, I have been attending outdoor events and fairs in my local area to see whether or not they are being planned with an age-friendly eye. What I have seen so far is that two small things are often overlooked that could make a big difference for older adults: there are not enough places to sit or find water on event grounds.

Given the above, and general best practices, here are some things for older adults to keep in mind:

  • Heat is not your friend. Go to outdoor events either early or late in the day. It’s likely to be cooler and may be less crowded as well. You may not realize that you have become overheated until you suddenly feel unwell.
  • Sun is not your friend either. It’s important to protect your skin and eyes. Be sure to put on sunscreen, bring a hat and take your sunglasses.
  • Carry a folding chair—or if you use a walker that converts to a chair, bring that. Most fairs and festivals have only limited places to sit outside of designated eating areas.
  • Remember to bring water and to stay hydrated. As I am sure you have read, many older adults don’t drink as much water as they should because they do not want to have to use a public bathroom—or even worse, a “porta potty.” However, dehydration is a real and serious risk in the summertime. Since it may be difficult to find water at many fairs and festivals, carry your own.
  • Wear supportive footwear and comfortable clothes. These events are not fashion shows, and feet get tired. If it’s cool, you may want to wear layers. The important thing is to be dressed for the terrain and the temperature.

Sure, event managers could do a better job meeting the needs of older adults, and hopefully, one day soon, they will. In the meantime, it’s in your best interest to take the time to do these few things. They will make huge difference in your enjoyment and an enjoyable event—and for your safety.

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